Ms. Mary Mwangi is an entrepreneur, co-founder, and the chief executive officer of Data Integrated Limited (DIL), a Fintech company that specializes in developing customized point of sale systems. The company automates payments processes found within Sub-Saharan Africa by providing software as a service (SAAS.)
Ms Mwangi has managed a team with whom she has developed Integrated Point of sale solutions for both Kenya and Rwanda.
The innovative entrepreneur has a broad range of experience having worked in banking, accounting, IT and business management in the Kansas City area before moving back to Kenya about 5 years ago. She holds a degree in accounting from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO USA.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I had been living in the US for many years and each year I came to visit Kenya my family would ask me to move back. I told them that I would only move back if I found something I would enjoy doing. I saw an opportunity with Mpesa that I thought was a needed solution to digitize payment systems for business and have them get paid through Mpesa. That is how I started Data Integrated as an automation payment system for small to medium “SME”sized businesses, thus I became an entrepreneur.
Tells us more about Data Integrated?
DIL is a company that is working to digitize payments and payment process for SME’s. To date, we have developed a payment platform for two main verticals: Transport industry and the hospitality industry (bars and restaurants). DIL’s team created a payment aggregator platform that is integrated with mobile money providers and banks.
What inspired you to start the business?
I was inspired by seeing how small companies did not use payment automation to improve their businesses and knowing that this is an important factor for today’s businesses to survive. I was brought up by a business woman and all along knew I would start my own business. It just was not always clear what kind of business it would be.
What sets Data Integrated apart from others?
At Data Integrated, we build customized solutions with the local businesses. We have a comprehensive approach to the problem we are trying to solve which is payments automation. We develop solutions that give 360 degrees view to payment processes and the resources that are being utilized to transact.
What can you say you have achieved so far?
Our transport management fee payments solution has been running since 2015 and with the successful launch of our Smart-Transport (MobiTill Epesi) solution in January of 2018, we have gained traction within the transport industry, processing over 5,000,000 transactions with a total amount of over 50 million dollars transacted on our system in one year.
In just over 6 months of piloting our s-Transport solution on 90 buses and 4 Ferries, DIL has succeeded in bringing an innovation system in public transport’s planning, operations and management. We have multiple key partners in Africa, including banks, telecommunication companies, and global service providers such as Visa, Microsoft, AWS among others.
Furthermore, we have been able to position our solutions to be part of the 4 th industrial revolution that will contribute to the future of Africa’s growth.
Any challenges faced?
A key challenge I have faced is sometimes getting cooperation from partners especially when you are a startup that is not well known and you miss out on getting taken seriously especially within the Kenyan government.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is an exciting role. It has its ups and downs, but with more ups. My joy comes from knowing that we are solving a problem that requires attention and we understand the need. I work with an amazing team that inspires me to keep pushing on every day.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
As a solution provider, we believe that our work is to train and build capacity within the businesses that we work for. Being within the tech ecosystem, we hope to contribute to the learning and growth of building hardware and software solutions within the continent that will improve the way businesses operate.
We are building an integrated system of sensors, machine learning algorithm and data analytics to provide a solution that improves the operations of public transport. We hope to become the leading public transport solution provider in the region and beyond.
Piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
To women who are looking to start up a business, be brave and surround yourselves with support teams, make sure to do something you are passionate about, it makes the hard times seem easier.